Saturday, September 12, 2015

Private letter in which Charles Darwin admits he is an Atheist goes up for auction.

Courtesy of the Mirror: 

A private letter where Charles Darwin confesses to not believing in the bible or that Jesus was the son of God is set to sell for more than £50,000. 

The esteemed naturalist and geologist was famous for keeping his religious views to himself and very rarely discussed the existence of God. 

It is thought the scientist, famous for his pioneering research on evolution, avoided the subject so he didn’t offend friends and family. 

But in a handwritten letter to a potential reader he shared his honest thoughts.

Here is what the letter says:   

“Dear Sir, I am sorry to have to inform you that I do not believe in the Bible as a divine revelation & therefore not in Jesus Christ as the son of God. Yours faithfully Ch. Darwin”.

As I am sure many of you know Darwin studied theology at Cambridge with the aim of becoming a member of the clergy.

It was during his voyage on the "Beagle" that his ideas about God, man, and nature were challenged, and perhaps changed forever.

And we can all give thanks that they were. For if Darwin had done what many religious folks still do today and rejected any evidence that God is not the architect of all that we see, we would not have the scientific discipline of Evolution and the wealth of information that it has provided about who we are, and where we come from.

A scientific discipline by the way that continues to provide new information all of the time, such as the recently discovered fossils of an entirely new human like species found in South Africa.

Yet another reminder of why it is so important to educate our children and help them to become freethinkers unburdened with the mythologies and superstitions of their fore-bearers.


  1. Anonymous4:21 AM

    That picture came from National Geographic, just bought by Ailes. No more science will be allowed.

    1. Anonymous5:01 AM

      Wrong billionaire

  2. Anonymous4:32 AM

    Hey, where did you get that picture of Ken Ham?

  3. He didn't really admit he was an atheist. Not believing in the bible or the divinity of Jesus could mean he was a deist, like Thomas Jefferson and a number of the founding fathers.

    1. Anonymous8:15 AM

      Thanks, Nancy. That's exactly what I was going to say. Not believing in the god of the bible or his "only son" Jesus does not mean that one does not believe in some sort of conscious creative power as the source of the universe.

    2. Anonymous12:38 PM


  4. Atheism is not something to be ashamed of. It is not something a person "admits" or "confesses".

    1. Public professions of Christianity only draw criticism when it manifests itself into bigotry. The politician, teacher, etc. who professes to being an atheist can expect a swift and ugly response from religious communities.

  5. Anonymous8:22 AM

    I don't have any problem with a god being the architect of evolution. I don't think it's either/or. I will have to read more to understand why Darwin rejected that.

    1. … why Darwin rejected that.

      He had no need for that hypothesis.

    2. Anonymous4:04 AM

      I believe he once said the final straw for him was the death of his beloved 9-year-old daughter in agonizing pain.

  6. Anonymous8:25 AM

    Help ua all at any age..

  7. Anonymous8:46 AM

    I prefer the label 'Agnostic' because i really am a searcher, not a denier.

    Haha i recently challenged a Kim Davis supporter to enroll in a theology class taught by an Agnostic to see if their blind faith could stand up under learning that the bible was written to control the masses 300 years after Christ walked the Earth, and Paul was a woman-hater.

    1. Anonymous9:50 AM

      Atheism is the lack of belief not the certainty that there is no god. Put another way…I see no evidence to support the assertion that there is a god. I am willing to reconsider my lack of belief if definitive evidence can be presented.

    2. Leland11:01 AM


      "Atheism is the lack of belief not the certainty that there is no god."

      That is YOUR interpretation of atheism. Mine specifically states there are no gods.

      To me, one of our "problems" as atheists is the lack of a clear definition of what we accept or don't accept. Because of that we have a hard time - as a group - getting people to hear and understand our thoughts and feelings.

      I CAN however, accept and agree with your final sentence. Give me proof is actually all most of us ask. Unfortunately for us, the "Proof" we are given is usually in the form of some religious text like the bible and when we stipulate that it isn't "proof" they get angry and claim we are believers in "the devil". That in and of itself is patently ridiculous because it lends itself to the idea we believe in a sort of negative god. (When I ask people of that ilk to explain how I can believe in a devil when I don't believe in any god, they get totally confused and stutter and stammer.)

      I generally don't bother, preferring to laugh at them instead because they get so flustered at my reaction. Does it do any good? No. In fact, it may actually tend towards creating problems.I still prefer to laugh at their attempts to "define" me and my ideas.

    3. Anonymous11:41 AM

      @9:50 and Leland ~ Neither of you can deny the fact that we're all connected via the space between our molecules. That 'space' is my god, whom i refer to as 'The Ether' and seeking understanding from this viewpoint is working great for me :)

    4. Leland12:21 PM

      @ 11:41.

      Actually, yes, I can. Until you show me PROOF your "god" IS a god, I can deny him or her or it for as long as I wish.

    5. Anonymous12:31 PM

      Leland11:01 AM

      That is not just my definition that is the broader definition. In a scientific sense, stating that there is positively no god, is no more valid than saying positively that there is a god. Neither position has proof.

    6. Anonymous12:36 PM

      Anonymous11:41 AM

      Whether we are connected is not the question. The classic definition of a god is a sentient being that actively creates and manipulates the universe. If you chose to make up definitions of a god to suit your comfort, that is your prerogative. But the space is not "sentient" and its actions, as far as I know, are not directed.

    7. Anonymous12:42 PM

      Anonymous11:41 AM

      "The concept of God as described by theologians commonly includes the attributes of omniscience (infinite knowledge), omnipotence (unlimited power), omnipresence (present everywhere), omnibenevolence (perfect goodness), divine simplicity, and eternal and necessary existence. "

    8. Anonymous2:03 PM

      @12:42 ~ Thank you for sharing that nugget. To me, it's The Ether described to a ' T '.

      The space between our atoms connects us to the end of the Universe (if there is one) and all the trees and cars and people in between. It's all the same space. Everything shares it. That is a fact : )

    9. Anonymous2:11 PM

      Although my god is LITERALLY (not just poetically) everywhere (you know, The Ether), i would never push that belief on anyone. One's god (or lack of) is as personal a choice as is one's personal preference for a certain pillow.

      Woe be to me if i ever purport to maim and kill in the name of The Ether. That would make me too main-stream...

    10. Leland3:56 PM


      Excuse me, but I think you may have perhaps missed something in what 12:42 stated. The statement included the comment "the attributes of omniscience (infinite knowledge)...."

      Yes, the space between things seems to be everywhere, but where is the infinite knowledge? And how can an empty space "connect" anything?

    11. Leland4:09 PM

      @ 12:31.

      Sorry, but I was merely paraphrasing an article in The American Atheists. Here's the link.

    12. Anonymous4:09 PM

      Anonymous2:03 PM

      You may also have missed "omnipotence (unlimited power)" in what 12:42 said. How would the "Ether" have unlimited power?

    13. Anonymous4:59 PM

      Thank you for the link. I had actually not been to the site before. I will now be a regular.

    14. Anonymous4:59 PM

      Leland, to me The Ether is all-knowing and all-powerful. How could 'it' not be if it's everywhere? It's existence requires pondering to grasp an iota of it's reach and properties (and possibly an electron microscope of the highest power if your mind's eye is on the blink).

      I keep saying "to me" so you won't be offended :)

    15. Leland5:52 PM


      By that logic, dark matter is all pervasive. Does it compete with your ether? Does it work with your ether?

      By the same token, merely because a thing is all pervasive, does not make it all knowing or omniscient.

      As you say, you keep saying "to me" and I understand that. Having said that, a simple discussion does not in any way offend me. Taking offense has always seemed to be a sign of loss in a discussion. To me.

      I repeat my original statement. I do not accept the concept of ANY god or gods or supreme beings or an all-powerful entity. Regardless of what your description may be for what YOU believe in, I personally cannot accept its existence until or unless its existence is proven to me by the method(s) of true scientific logic. Repeatability and verifiability by anyone interested in attempting to prove the method of the experiment and the outcome.

      As you say, however, you may believe as you wish.

    16. Anonymous7:40 PM

      Thank you for your graciousness, Leland. In my world, dark matter competes with The Ether no more than a champion swimmer competes with the water in which they swim.

      And i understand and also have a need for verifiability and repeatability. As a matter of fact, Leland, in the battle of our sophomoric wits, i humbly bow to your prowess :)

    17. Anonymous9:11 AM

      Einstein eventually acknowledged the Aether in 1895:

      "We may say that according to the general theory of relativity space is endowed with physical qualities; in this sense, therefore, there exists an aether.

      According to the general theory of relativity space without aether is unthinkable; for in such space there not only would be no propagation of light, but also no possibility of existence for standards of space and time (measuring-rods and clocks), nor therefore any space-time intervals in the physical sense. But this aether may not be thought of as endowed with the quality characteristic of ponderable media, as consisting of parts which may be tracked through time. The idea of motion may not be applied to it.[6]"

  8. The god concept is a metaphor for what is, the way things are (Exodus 3:14), that many people find fruitful—notably as a way of controlling others.

    1. Anonymous5:41 PM

      Cherry pickers (nod). Cherry picking the bible to bend others to their will, or make money, or gain attention.

      Who in this day and age could applaud David for slaying so many men to gain their foreskins so he could impress a guy enough to fuck his daughter? Nobody wants to cherry-pick that part, but it's there right along with a man shan't lay with a man.

      And MEN wrote that stuff to entertain, maybe, and somehow it was convoluted and expanded upon by power-mad psychopaths to control the populace. King James, anyone? Why would he leave out several testaments in the series and have final control over the 'scholars' charged with appending and organizing the books?

      The Book of Judas, although fantastical, seems just as historically important as any Greek papyrus found in a cave. The Maccabee books are some of the most vivid stories, but what deemed those portions and several others UNsacred? A man?

  9. Leland10:36 AM

    "we would not have the scientific discipline of Evolution and the wealth of information that it has provided about who we are, and where we come from."

    Not true! We wouldn't have gotten it from him is all. Someone else would have eventually come up with the idea. What it WOULD have meant is we would have started understanding evolution later is all.

    1. Anonymous1:22 PM

      Hey it is the twice a year event where Leland and I actually agree on something!! Have a sipper of your favorite top shelf Leland.

  10. Anonymous11:01 AM

    I know this guy...just can't place him. Mitch McConnell?

  11. Anonymous4:11 PM

    Thank you all. This one of the more interesting discussions we have had on IM in a while.

  12. Anonymous4:20 PM

    he Must have been much more difficult to expose one's atheism back then, especially one of his stature , but i'm glad he did.

    I love his sense of irony "yours Faithfully".

  13. Anonymous5:10 PM

    And i love that it was short and sweet :)

  14. Anonymous5:14 PM

    Haha maybe doing squelching organized religion WON'T do away with war:

    excerpted from Wiki:

    Continuing the plot from "Go God Go", Cartman is still trapped in the year 2546, after his plan to submit himself to cryogenic suspension to avoid waiting for the release of the Wii goes awry. In the year 2546, worldwide atheism, founded by Richard Dawkins and his wife Mrs. Garrison, has eradicated religion. Atheism has in turn split into three hostile denominations at perpetual war over the so-called "Great Question": the super-intelligent otters of the AAA (Allied Atheist Alliance), the humans of the UAA (United Atheist Alliance), and a rival human faction, the UAL (Unified Atheist League). Cartman, known as the "Time Child," is considered a valuable asset by all three groups, while Cartman lives and works with the UAA. He has apparently been living in the future for some time, as he has adopted the local jargon (replacing the word "God" with "science" when cursing) and is familiar with the future technology.

    As the vicious sea otters of the AAA complete their planning for a sneak attack against the UAA and UAL, one elderly otter, known as the Wise One, asks whether the war is worth fighting, and implies that logic and science can be harmonized with some sort of belief in the supernatural. After pondering this for a moment, the rest of the otters brutally murder the Wise One. A massive battle between the three atheist groups begins, during which Cartman discovers the nature of the "Great Question": the war is being fought over which denomination name is the most logical for atheists to call themselves: the AAA, the UAL, or the UAA (with the otters passionately defending the alliteration of the acronym "AAA").

    1. Anonymous5:44 PM


      Richard Dawkins reacted to the two-part episode by saying, "I'm buggered if I like being portrayed as a cartoon character buggering a bald transvestite. I wouldn't have minded so much if only it had been in the service of some serious point, but if there was a serious point in there I couldn't discern it."[1] When asked about the episode in a 2012 interview with Playboy magazine, Dawkins, who said it was the only episode of South Park he had seen, thought the future war among the different atheists sects, which he felt had "a certain amount of truth in it", harbored a greater potential for satire, as it reminded him of the Judean People's Front and the People's Front of Judea from the film Monty Python’s Life of Brian, but felt that too much of the episode was devoted to ridiculing him by depicting him having sex with Ms. Garrison, commenting, "That isn't satire because it has nothing to do with what I stand for. And the scatological part, where they had somebody throwing shit, which stuck to my forehead—that’s not even funny."[2][3]

  15. Anonymous6:45 PM

    This is a great discussion and I would like to thank Gryphen and so many people who have helped me personally as I've struggled to define questions such as this for myself. I live in Texas and have two college degrees, yet I find that this is an environment where anything seen as a rejection of Christianity is deemed horrible and even "uneducated".

    I love coming to IM and reading great articles and discussions such as these.

  16. Anonymous8:10 PM

    ...../ )
    .....' /
    ---' (_____
    ......... ((__)
    ..... _ ((___)
    ....... -'((__)

  17. Anonymous8:14 PM

    Yes, thank you for all you do, Uncle Gryphen!

    (Although i'm old enough to be your parent, that sort of thing does happen in my neck of the woods haha.)

  18. Interesting discussion! As a side note, this tiny bit of correspondence could still describe me as an evolving Christian. I have a more agnostic view of the universe and embrace the allegory of the Christ as a deeply personal inner journey as apposed to a structured divine belief.


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